Spain will soon overtake Japan in life expectancy rankings. Here’s why

Pedro Sánchez 2018

Mr Pedro SANCHEZ, Spanish Prime Minister. Copyright: European Union Event: European Council – June 2018 (Day 2)

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Formative Content

The importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle has long been acknowledged by healthcare professionals as one of the keys to a long and happy life. And for the people of Spain, the evidence bears this out as they’re about to topple the Japanese from the top spot in the longest life expectancy charts.

By 2040, Spaniards can expect to live to an average age of 85.8 years. That’s noticeably up from the 2016 level of 82.9 years when Spain was ranked fourth out of 195 countries. Japan now sits at number two in the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) ranking with an average life expectancy of 85.7, only slightly behind that of Spain. It was 83.7 years in 2016.

The chief explanation for Spain’s pronounced improvement is the country’s Mediterranean diet which helps guard against some of the five biggest early killers of the modern era: obesity, high blood pressure, elevated levels of blood sugar, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption.

In 2016, four of the 10 most common causes of early death were non-communicable diseases (NCDs). But by 2040 NCDs are forecast to account for seven: ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and lung cancer.

“The future of the world’s health is not preordained,” says the study’s lead author Dr Kyle Foreman, Director of Data Science at the IHME.

“But whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers,” he adds, referring to the five major influences on premature mortality.

The IHME researchers examined different independent drivers of health, including sociodemographic measurements of fertility, per capita income and years of education, along with more obvious factors like smoking, high body mass index, and access to clean water and sanitation.

In addition to calling attention to the growing importance of NCDs, the analysis exposes a substantial risk of HIV/AIDS mortality rebounding, which could undo recent life expectancy gains in several nations including – but not limited to – those in sub-Saharan Africa.

Chinese health officials recently announced there has been a 14% increase in HIV infection rates in China, with around 40,000 new cases reported in the second quarter of 2018 alone.

Spain leads the way in the 2040 Life Expectancy rankings from the IHME.

Image: IHME

Citizens of all the top 10 countries are predicted to live into their mid 80s. Yet there are startling differences and inequalities revealed by the IHME study, which looked at best- and worst-case scenario predictions. In one worst-case scenario, life expectancy drops by almost half for all countries over the next generation. By contrast, in the better scenario, 158 countries will see life expectancy gains of at least five years, while 46 nations may see gains of 10 years or more.

Syria has seen the greatest rise up the global rankings – from 137th in 2016 to 80th by 2040. But this change is because of a predicted levelling off of armed conflict.

Among the bottom-ranked nations, including Lesotho, Swaziland, Central African Republic, and South Africa, the better and worse scenarios in 2040 range from a high of 75.3 years in South Africa to a low of 45.3 years in Lesotho – a predicted potential difference of 30 years.

But the predictions for some of the world’s most affluent nations are among some of the most surprising. The USA is the IHME index’s biggest loser among high-income countries falling from 43rd in 2016 to 64th in 2040, due to an increase of just 1.1 year – from 78.7 to 78.9 years.

Dr Christopher Murray, IHME Director, explains the purpose of worse and best scenario ranges. “These scenarios offer new insights and help to frame health planning, especially regarding long lag periods between initial investments and their impacts, such as in the research and development of drugs.”

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

This Finnish town will be carbon neutral by 2025. Here’s how.

VAT: EU Member States still losing almost €150 billion in revenues according to new figures

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

Cambodia: Giving back to UN peacekeeping

State aid: Commission approves €1.9 billion Czech scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

Aid used for trade is helping developing countries diversify

Mobile Technology Saving Lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technological solutions

What does reimagining our energy system look like?

Why the 33,000 staff European Commission did not have a real contingency plan for the refugee crisis?

We need to talk about big data and genomics. Here’s why – and how

Athens searches frantically for a new compromise between politics and economic reality

It’s ‘time to #EndTB’, says UN on World Tuberculosis Day

Auctions are changing, thanks to 2020’s Nobel economics prize winners

The EU checks the multinationals for tax fraud but Britain may sail out of the EU via Panama

Currency Union might not let an independent Scotland join the EU as the “Yes” front now leads

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: funding for Palestine refugees, families today, tech surveillance

This is the world’s greenest football club – and you’ve probably never even heard of it

Over 40 million people still victims of slavery

One year on: EU-Canada trade agreement delivers positive results

What is ‘South-South cooperation’ and why does it matter?

AIESEC @ European Business Summit 2014: European Youth, Change Now Patiently

These will be the main cybersecurity trends in 2020

3 trends that will transform the energy industry

Climate Change: A Healthcare Emergency

DR Congo: Ebola claims over 1,000 lives, Guterres commits ‘whole’ UN system, to help ‘end the outbreak’

Commission proposes to top up support for refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

This country came up with 5 novel ideas to tackle the pandemic

Brexit: An orderly exit is in the interests of both parties

Annexing Jordan Valley would end ‘illusion’ of a meaningful two-State solution: UN rights expert

China is winning the electric vehicle race

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

Stop cooperation with and funding to the Libyan coastguard, MEPs ask

Biblioburro: The amazing donkey libraries of Colombia

UN sounds alarm as Venezuelan refugees and migrants passes three million mark

How long until you retire? Across Europe, people’s working life is getting shorter

We have to fight for a fairer tech industry for women

Feeling the heat? This is how to keep cool as temperatures rise

DR Congo President and UN chief meet at a ‘historic moment’ for democracy in the country

A new era of computing is coming. How can we make sure it is sustainable?

5 charts that bust some myths about migration

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

How the Great Famine inspired Irish people to help Native Americans in the fight against COVID-19

The technologies – and thoughtful collaborations – that can build resilience in the food system after COVID-19

Greece bailout ends but with no substantial effect on citizens’ life

This is what great leadership looks like in the digital age

This air taxi uses 5G to ‘see’ around corners

European elections: A chance to repel both nationalism and no-deal Brexit

How TV has brought mental health issues into the light – and helped to banish stigma

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Refinitiv by London Stock Exchange Group, subject to conditions

Sweden has invented a word to encourage people not to fly. And it’s working

Good Governance in developing modern quality infrastructure systems

Disaster Medicine in Medical Education: the investment you just can´t afford to ignore

Here are what UNESCO considers to be remarkable new World Heritage Sites

Preparing for developing countries the ‘Greek cure’

One small flight for a drone, one ‘big leap’ for global health

The European reaction to the neo-fascist wind

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

Fairer and clearer rules on social benefits for EU mobile workers agreed

Security Council renews Central African Republic arms embargo

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s